Ile de la Réunion

Nestled in between Madagascar and Mauritius off the south coast of Africa is one of the Indian Ocean’s best kept secrets. But why would you travel to this small little gem – here are five reasons why to go to Ile de la Réunion

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It’s cheaper than going to the moon

The eastern side of Ile de la Réunion has the volcano Piton de la Fournaise to thank for its unique lunar landscape. The volcano itself is one of the world’s most accessible active volcanoes and has been blowing off steam (and lava) for 530,000 years, with its most recent eruption being in July 2017.

Even if you’re not lucky enough to catch a full on eruption you can still enjoy spectacular volcanic scenery from the many marked out hiking trails that criss-cross the volcanic area.

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World Class Water Sports

A mere 2 metres from the black and white beaches that dot the island is a coral reef that stretches approximately 30km around the island This is ideal territory for all manner of underwater adventurers, from novice snorkelers to advanced divers.

Thanks to St Leu’s famous waves the island is prime surf territory too and has been a regular feature in the world surf championships. Then of course there’s stand up paddle boarding, kite surfing, kayaking, canyoning, whale watching…you get the picture.

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credit: Trendy Trikes

Fresh, fresh, fresh food

Lychees and mango trees grow along the side of the road, banana trees grow in back gardens and passion fruits grow in vegetation underfoot so you’re guaranteed fresh tropical fruit year round in La Réunion.

Up in the mountains you’ll find pineapple and melon farms with acres and acres of the little spiky plants as far as the eye can see, an unusual sight indeed.

The island is also famous for sugar cane production with over half of its available farm land taken up by sugar cane plants. From this sugar cane comes rum and with the abundance of tropical fruit available comes a wide range of infused flavoured rums. For the full history, demonstrations and even taste testing Isautier Rhum Distillerie is well worth a visit.

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Adrenaline rushes galore

Not only does Réunion have an abundance of choice when it comes to water based activities but land and air based adrenaline sports are also very easy to come by.

This is prime territory for trekking with routes along mountains, valleys and even round the top of volcanoes. It’s also the scene of the “Grand Raid” where each year hundreds of elite runners compete in a 162km ultra-marathon with a total altitude difference of 9643m!

Other activities that will get your blood pumping include climbing, caving, canyoning in lava tunnels and taking to the sky. Réunion is one of the most renowned places in the world for paragliding and microlighting with approximately 15 runways to choose from.

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credit: Trendy Trikes

The Ultimate in Relaxation

If you’d just prefer to soak up the sun Réunion will definitely not disappoint. Boucan-Canot is the most popular beach, with ridiculously white sand, crystal clear waters and a large enough canopy of coconut and casuarina trees to keep even the most jaded beach bum content.

Summer month lasts from November to April and temperatures average well over 30 degrees. Even in the winter months they only drop down to low 20s so Reunion really is a year round paradise.

Words by Hannah Etheve

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credit: imv